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Bill creating HIV/AIDS task force passes Senate

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The Oklahoma state Senate unanimously approved legislation Tuesday to create an HIV/AIDS task force focused on minority communities.

Under Senate Bill 1829, the 13-member task force will examine HIV/AIDS problems in Oklahoma's minority communities and make recommendations for action. The task force would review programs throughout the nation that have been successful in promoting testing for HIV and in reducing the rate of new HIV infections.

The task force will also work with the State Department of Health to fund new and effective programs to promote HIV testing.

Bill author state Sen. Judy Eason-McIntyre, D-Tulsa, said HIV/AIDS is a nationwide epidemic and is especially growing rapidly within minority communities.

"I believe this task force is the first step in truly addressing this problem head-on," McIntyre said in a press release. "We have to raise awareness and increase the knowledge of this deadly disease in Oklahoma. Protecting Oklahoma minority citizens from HIV/AIDS is a critical priority. This task force will study the best ways to curb the rate of new cases and find the best options for testing and treatments."    

The bill will now enter the state House for consideration.  

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